This week, I chose to compare RIG’s marketing strategy to IBM’s to determine the differences between marketing of an entrepreneurial firm and a global corporation. I referred to an article by IBM, which I had previously read whilst preparing for my exams at LSE, on how to use marketing and the internet in order to boost performance.
IBM’s whitepaper, 'Marketing in the digital age' recommends the following 5 tips from the “front line”:
- Create a global brand blueprint and express it locally;
- Architect a customer experience that is consistent with your brand;
- Gain a single view of the customer;
- Insist on a robust IT infrastructure; and
- Partner in innovative ways.
These all may seem common sense. They definitely made sense to me after I memorised them in preparation for exams. Now consider yourself working in a growth stage company with small number of employees…
IBM’s “create a global brand blueprint and express it locally” or “insist on robust IT infrastructure” recommendations don’t make much sense in this context, do they? Let me explain further…
For example, small firms often utilise commonly and widely available off-the-shelf IT hardware and software so it does not make sense to have “insist on a robust IT infrastructure” as one of the most important guidelines for successful marketing. It is simply not feasible for a growth-stage company to turn half of its office into a server room or own a 100GB domain. What I am trying to get at is that some global marketing tips are irrelevant for start-ups.
So, since I believe that global marketing tips cannot usually be fully adopted by start-ups, I decided to generate a few tips myself from what I have observed here at Rapid Innovation Group so far. Referring back to IBM's tips from the "front line", I shall call them 5 marketing tips from "in front of the front line”:
- Standardise your services and set aggressive, yet achievable actions list for both you and your client
- Be entrepreneur-spirited when it comes to technology – use the most up-to-date software available given your budget and utilise the new technology to your best use
- Get close to your clients – become a part of their company and team, talk to them on day-to-day basis (or all day in some cases), know everything about their offerings, and approach their clients as one of their employees
- Make best use of non-corporate culture – use your colleagues’ strengths and let them use yours to get the best outcome for the company, and be cooperative not competitive
- Use an “underground” approach to expanding your visibility/popularity within your target market – ‘what comes around goes around’, so always leave a good impression and you may get interest from the least expected people